Hajj 2023: Saudi Arabia extends Nusuk programme to more countries

Pilgrims from Europe, the US, Australia and more than 58 nations can now make online payments for visas, flights, accommodation and transport

Pilgrims in Makkah. Saudi Arabia's move to expand the Nusuk programme is intended to improve the experience of pilgrims coming to perform Hajj. AFP
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Saudi Arabia has expanded its Nusuk programme for Hajj pilgrims to more countries around the world.

Nusuk is a unified government portal that helps pilgrims to apply and pay online for electronic visas, book flights and pay for accommodation and transport.

The move will benefit pilgrims from Europe, the US, Australia and more than 58 countries.

“The move would also raise the quality of the services provided to them to enrich their religious and cultural experience, while also achieving the objectives of the kingdom’s Vision 2030 programmes,” the Saudi Press Agency quoted the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah as saying.

Nusuk was launched in 2022 by the ministry, in co-operation with the Saudi Tourism Authority.

Earlier, the ministry said first-time pilgrims would have their registrations prioritised.

Pilgrims wishing to perform Hajj this year must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 and must have the meningococcal vaccine and the seasonal influenza shot.

They should not be suffering from acute chronic diseases or infectious illnesses.

The ministry also announced plans for a free, contactless card during the Hajj Expo in Jeddah last month, which will contain a pilgrim's personal information, including their address and health records, and will be linked to a smartphone application.

The development of the card follows an agreement between Nusuk and the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments.

Nusuk offers more than 120 services to assist pilgrims arriving in Makkah from around the world.

Saudi Arabia is set to host 2 million Hajj pilgrims this year, Minister of Hajj and Umrah Dr Tawfiq Al Rabiah said earlier this year.

Updated: February 09, 2023, 9:11 AM